In the 5th century BC, the philosopher Democritus stated that “it is difficult to be ruled by an inferior”. Half a century later, the much more popular Plato said something similar: “the greatest punishment for anyone who abstains from politics is to be ruled by an inferior.” For some reason, at that time the Greeks, fathers of the democracy that led to what we have today, were worried about the possibility of being ruled by “inferiors”.
Talking about “inferiors” is complicated. Especially after what happened in the 20th century, which created a hierarchy beyond immoral and pseudoscientific to justify the elimination of all those who did not contribute to the “improvement of Humanity”. It is the famous eugenics, which still serves as the basis for many progressive causes, from abortion to environmentalism.
Most people, however, understand that hierarchies are natural and exist beyond the diabolical eugenics mentality. . They understand that there are differences between individuals and naturally see the existence of people who are better at this and others at that. I, for example, write better than some people. On the other hand, I’m terrible at a multitude of other activities. In fact, the only thing I do decently in life is write. And look there!
The phrases from 2500 years ago, however, help to shed some light on the rejection that characters such as President Jair Bolsonaro and the former president Lula wake up nowadays. Antibolsonarism and anti-Lulismo exist because there will always be millions of someone feeling led by an inferior. And outraged by it. In a society that insists that everyone is extraordinary and innate winners, so much the worse. Few realize that in one thing at least politicians are perhaps better than all of us: cleverness. Or trickery – call it what you want.
Furthermore, and as democracy has become a mere popularity contest decided by the vote of functional illiterates who consider themselves enlightened, it is very… easy to feel on edge. somehow superior to current leaders. And here I am not referring only to those who intend to occupy the Iron Throne of the Federal Executive. Let’s face it: nowadays it is very easy to feel superior even to the leadership that, in theory, is closer to the population: the councilor.
Adjustment in the look
With an aggravating factor. In the Brazilian legal system, there are important positions whose legitimacy is linked to a non-electoral respectability arising precisely from their position in a somewhat abstract hierarchy. Kind of esoteric. Judges, for example. Or even doctors. If I go to a doctor and he says “do it for me”, for example, I immediately feel superior to him. And something is lost. I begin to distrust the doctor’s technical abilities. And, because mastery of language is very important to me, I reject the doctor as a whole.
The same phenomenon happens in politics, when we consider ourselves somehow superior to those who lead us. Want to see? Let’s get away from the Bolsonaro/Lula polarization and take a character who was once a national hero and today has a rejection worthy of thesis: Sergio Moro. Back at the height of Lava Jato, it was easy to feel somehow inferior to Moro. After all, he was the humble judge who, with his lunch box under his arm, fought against the powerful, using only his knowledge of law enforcement. Wow!
But then he left the magistracy and we all know how that story ends. Moro came to be seen, first, as an equal. Then, as someone incapable of making minimally correct decisions. Today it’s not uncommon to find someone who sees you as a walking political disaster, incapable of leading a miserable condominium meeting.
And, well, I’m glad you made it this far, because I don’t despise the intelligence of my reader and, therefore, I have reserved for you a very special final paragraph: this one. In which I say that the “solution” to this “democratic problem” (how many quotes!) may not be in the leaders – who are human and have feet of clay, as they say. The solution may lie in the way we look at these leaders and what we expect from them. Moro only fell out of favor because we saw in him someone capable of fixing a deplorable aspect of the country: corruption. And he believed it. Had we only expected from him the discreet and honest work of a good judge, without any kind of idolatry or messianic hope, perhaps he would still be worthy of our admiration – which translates into a vote.
He said that the previous paragraph was the last one, right? lied. Because I need to make it clear (without ever belittling the reader) that the same goes for Jair Bolsonaro. Which fell out of favor for all those who expected him to be some kind of ideal president. Or for Lula – if any reader of mine admires Lula to the point of considering him a superior leader in anything other than the abominable trickery. That’s why, and not out of ill will or bad faith (at least not always), is that he demanded and still demands so much decorum from Bolsonaro. As much as the heralds of equality will contradict me, the reality is that no one likes to be ruled by someone they see as morally, intellectually or culturally inferior. Nobody votes for a candidate who makes the voter think “in his place I would do better”. And now, yes, the text is over.